We’ve all witnessed some wonderful football in recent weeks, from the victory at Hull City, the all changed line up at Nottingham Forest, the spanking of Chelsea and then the ripping apart of FC Basel, it has been some of the best football I’ve seen for a few years now I’d say but I wondered how this team would cope when our best football was harder to come by. It is pretty much impossible to play the way we have been playing through an entire season, especially in the physically demanding and competitive Premier League. In truth I would have used one of Bethut free bets on an Arsenal win before the kick off because of our performances but the game was far more difficult than I imagined it would be.
Arsene had decided to stick with the same team that had Gooners purring over the last few weeks, I fully understood the decision in such a difficult place to play but perhaps that was part of the reason why we were not able to produce the football we have shown in recent matches.
Defences were very much on top during the first half, both sides neutralising the other teams strengths. Burnley have had all week to look at our game and work out how to stop us from hurting them. Sitting deep inside their box and cutting off the spaces where Alexis, Iwobi and Ozil like to play in. Equally I thought Mustafi, Koscielny and Monreal were excellent when it came to thwarting the long balls into the box.
Mustafi in particular was excellent on the day, he is aggressive, focused and a talker. He was pointing to where he wanted his partners to be on set pieces and won plenty of balls in the box. I also very much enjoyed watching himself and Koscielny throwing themselves at shots and making last ditch blocks.
Burnley did manage a good chance from one of the high balls when Sam Vokes headed wide when he should have done better. They also clipped the bar with another header while Alexis volleyed brilliantly against the outside of the post from a looping ball in the box. That would have been some goal had the ball fell the right side of the post.
Ozil was far from his brilliant best and in this type of game where accuracy was key, we missed the German’s incisive passing. But it wasn’t just the German, our entire attack lacked the final ball when it mattered.
My stream had died on about 85 minutes and I tried to frantically find another one but had no luck, so I gave up and turned to Twitter.
The comments went from disappointment, anger and frustration to
WE’RE GONNA WIN THE LEAGUE
Hand ball and offside but GOOOAAAALLLLL!
It was a weird feeling, I was shouting with delight, upset I had missed the goal but so happy that we had found the winner at the death.
The stats say that playing Premier League football after Champions League nights are the occasions where teams are more likely to drop points so I’m happy to put the offensive performance to one side, the Chelsea and Basel performances were not far away enough to make me forget, instead I am going to take heart from the character, spirit and determination of the side to keep yet another clean sheet. Our forth in a row with Koscielny and Mustafi alongside each other and the Hull City goal was in fact a penalty so that is very pleasing. If we are to compete for this league, we will need to be able to dig in over the season.
Manchester City were beaten and beaten well by Tottenham so hopefully that puts an end to the invincibility label that many have put on Pep Guardiola’s men. Manchester United drew at home to Stoke City who are going through some funk so all in all it was a pretty good Sunday for Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.
I enjoyed reading Daniel Taylor’s teary review in the Guardian hope someone is able to check up on him and find out if he’s ok.
We go into the International break in good shape and are now the form side in this Premier League, along with Liverpool. The worry is that the team lose it’s continuity but the good news is that we will add Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin to the squad by the time we face Swansea City on October 15th.
Oh and was it handball and offside? Who cares, we won.